You know the crowd-pleasers – mini-hot dogs, buffalo wings, and plenty of chips and dips – but do your parties also include vegetarian appetizers?
More and more people are turning to vegetarian diets, so it makes sense to have plenty of options at your next party or BBQ.
The good news is, it’s easier than ever to make up a whole array of incredible, filling, fresh, and tasty vegetarian appetizers.
From bruschetta and hummus to classic spinach dip and warm flatbreads, you might not even need those chicken wings, after all!
1. Chipotle Guacamole Recipe
Guacamole will never be out of place, no matter what you’re celebrating, and it’s naturally vegan-friendly.
In fact, this might be one of the few dishes that isn’t made better by adding bacon.
Instead, you’ll rely on the creamy avocado, crunchy red onions, and zesty lime juice to do all the heavy lifting.
I like mine with plenty of jalapeños, but you can leave those out if you don’t want it spicy.
2. Eggplant Caponata Recipe
This gorgeous little dish can be served hot or cold and is best with some crusty fresh bread.
Although, it will work with salad or as a side to chicken or fish, too.
As the name suggests, the base is roasted eggplant, which will soften up and turn buttery in the oven.
Between the onions, celery, tomatoes, tangy olives, and capers, this dish packs quite a punch!
Plus, if you have time to leave it overnight, the flavors will marry and become even more pronounced the next day.
3. Vegan Bruschetta Toppings Done Four Ways
Bruschetta is typically a tomato-based topping that is served cold over fresh bread. But who says it has to just be tomatoes?
One of these is made with mushrooms, thyme, and garlic and is best served nice and hot.
I also think that the mashed peas and mint is better when it’s fresh off the stove.
But the olive and oregano blend is perfect just out of the fridge.
Drizzle a touch of lemon juice over the top and watch your guests swarm!
4. Easy Hummus Recipe
Anybody can buy a tub of hummus, but just think how your vegetarian friends will light up when you present them with this super simple, homemade dip!
If you want to go the full stretch and boil your own chickpeas, go right ahead! Otherwise, canned chickpeas will do the trick.
Roasted garlic will add such a lovely mellow flavor to the mix, as will some roasted red peppers.
5. Garlic Bread
I don’t know a single person that can resist a batch of fresh, fragrant garlic bread, do you?
For me, French bread is essential, though I think a buttery brioche would be an excellent next choice.
Another key ingredient (along with fresh garlic) is butter. Real, full-fat butter. Trust me; margarine won’t be good enough!
6. Italian Tomato Salad
When they’re in season, I always go overboard at the farmer’s market.
Tomatoes are just so hard to resist with their beautiful smell and vibrant coloring.
Cherry tomatoes are my favorite since you can get so many unique hues.
But there’s something super satisfying about a big, red, beefsteak tomato.
When you marinate these beefy tomatoes in a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, onions, basil, parsley, sea salt, and garlic, they are out of this world.
7. Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Let’s not save these bright and sweet berries for the holidays, ok? Just look at how amazing they are against the cream cheese!
If you have a favorite cranberry sauce recipe, go ahead and whip up a batch.
If not, this one is pretty close to perfect, especially when you add in the jalapeños!
Let the cream cheese come up to room temperature before serving, and be sure to make some divots on the top so the sauce will pool over nicely.
8. Broccoli Fritters
One thing to keep in mind when making vegetarian appetizers is to try and keep things finger-friendly.
Ideally, your guests should be able to wander in and out and not have to try and eat a plate of food on their laps.
These fritters are a fantastic finger-food option that are healthy and loaded with flavor.
Be sure to keep an eye on them as they fry. You’ll want a nice golden crust, not a layer of burned broccoli.
9. Veggie Platter
When it comes to making a veggie platter, there are some do’s and don’ts to consider.
First, you want veggies that are bright and fresh – no soggy, limp asparagus, please.
Next, choose vegetables that will slice well and hold plenty of dips. I’m talking about crunchy peppers and baby carrots.
Last, if you’re using broccoli, be sure to blanch it first.
I know it’s a pain, but it will brighten up the color and make it much more pleasant to eat.
Oh, and don’t forget the dips!
10. 5-Ingredient Apple Brickle Dip
Looking for something sweet yet (sort-of) healthy? This brown sugar and cream cheese dip is for you!
I know what you’re thinking: how can this cheesecake-like dip be healthy? Well, it’s served with plenty of fresh apple slices!
That makes it akin to a fruit salad in my book!
Don’t skip the toffee bits. They’re the best part!
11. Vegetable Pakora
These light, crispy, deep-fried snacks will be a hit at your next party, and they’re so simple to throw together.
Onions are usually the main ingredient for these, but you could use anything from cabbage and cauliflower to potatoes and peppers.
Start by chopping your veggies nice and thin (try to make them even if you’re using a mix) and sprinkle over your spices.
Then, add the flours and a touch of water to make the wet batter.
These need to be deep-fried, which you can easily do in a Dutch oven or deep pan if you don’t have a fryer at home.
12. Cowboy Caviar
After being served in Houston at a New Year’s Eve party, cowboy caviar was originally known as Texas caviar.
It was comically compared to the classic and expensive hors d’oeuvre we all know.
Loaded with beans, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, jalapeño, corn, avocado, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro, this is so much bigger than the Russian alternative.
You can easily make this a few days in advance. Just leave the avocado out until you’re ready to serve.
13. Vegan Baked Potato Skins
Potato skins are a hearty and inexpensive option for appetizers, though they’re usually loaded with cheese and bacon.
The good news is that these vegan babies are just as crispy and creamy, especially if you add in some homemade vegan mayo.
Though I haven’t tried it myself, if you wanted to go the extra mile, why not try this recipe for vegan bacon?
14. Paneer Pakora
Paneer is a type of cottage cheese that has the flavor of pressed ricotta.
It doesn’t melt, making it a little like tofu, just with a firmer texture.
Read more: Vegan Garlic Noodles
Other than onions and veggies, paneer is the next most popular option for these fried little snacks.
Unlike the veggie pakoras, you’ll make a much thicker batter for this since you have to dredge the paneer in order to get a good coating.
Once their fully coated, pop them straight into the hot oil until golden brown.
15. 4-Ingredient Dill Pickle Dip
Attention pickle-haters: just go ahead and move on to the next recipe, ok? This one’s not for you.
Those of you left must be the pickle-lovers in the group, and this recipe is going to blow your mind!
It might only have four ingredients, but it’s brimming with intense pickle flavors and is perfect for a last-minute dip.
The key to getting the most flavor?
You’ll add pickle juice to the cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth and at the perfect dipping consistency.
After that, you’ll add in some chopped pickles for good measure.
16. Indian Tomato Soup
I know I said you should try to aim for finger foods, but if you serve this in mini ramekins, you’ll be good to go!
Tomato soup will always be a family fave, and nothing pairs with it quite like grilled cheese.
Although, this would be excellent with some of those paneer pakora.
Unlike regular tomato soup which is full of garlic, onion, and primarily Italian spices, this recipe includes ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and garam masala.
17. Sweet and Spicy Soy Glazed Edamame
Edamame are part of the legume family, coming from soybean plants.
They might look like snap peas, but they’re a little bit more bitter.
Full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, these are a lovely little snack.
Plus, when coated with a sweet and spicy glaze, they’re impossible to resist.
18. Vegan Heirloom Tomato Flatbread with Tahini
Remember those tomatoes I was talking about before? From the Farmer’s Market?
This might just be my favorite way to use them all up! I mean, did you see that picture? Stunning!
Most pizza doughs will be vegan-friendly, but if you want to be sure, try this recipe out.
I prefer to use pesto on mine for a bit of kick, but the tahini is an excellent option, too.
19. Homemade Potato Chips
I know how easy it is to grab a bag of chips from the store, but they come with so many impossible-to-pronounce “ingredients” that you can’t always be sure what you’re eating.
So if you can make a batch of your own in just ten minutes, why not give it a try?
I highly recommend using a mandolin for this; that way, the slices are nice and even.
Plus, you can get them much thinner than you could when cutting by hand.
All these need is a sprinkling of sea salt and some fresh cracked pepper.
20. Vegan Spinach Dip
If you’ve ever made (or eaten) spinach dip, you’ll know it’s usually served hot with lots of bubbling cheese on top.
But this veggie-friendly option is a little different. First, it’s served cold, not hot. Second, there’s no layer of melted cheese over the surface.
If you can look past your love for cheese, this is such a terrific little dip.
Full of sauteed spinach and onion, not to mention delicious vegan cream cheese (you could also use silken tofu) and mayo, it’s super creamy and perfect with some crispy crackers.